Remal leaves trail of destruction, grief

DailySun || Shining BD

Published: 5/28/2024 4:58:25 AM

Severe cyclonic storm Remal – moving from south to northeast through the coastal areas of Bangladesh and neighbouring India – has caused huge damage across the country, especially in the coastal districts, leaving at least 13 people dead.

The devastating cyclone marooned thousands of people in the coastal districts after flooding several hundreds of villages, damaging flood protection embankments, washing away croplands, shrimp farms and electricity connections.

At the same time, movement of vessels, aircraft, and general transports were disrupted due to the storm. Mobile phone communication and internet communications were also interrupted due to the impact of the natural disaster that has been affecting the entire country.

People’s normal life and transport movement were disrupted across the country due to heavy continuous rainfall from
Sunday night till Monday night, while several thousands of trees were uprooted across the country.

Locals from different districts said several thousands of people will become homeless as per impact of the cyclone as their houses have been totally destroyed while many will become penniless after losing their crops and sources of income after the disaster.

In this situation, it will be difficult for the several hundreds of families to earn livelihood as many people live from hand to mouth in the coastal areas, the sources added.

Meanwhile, UNICEF in a press release on Monday said that Cyclone Remal has exposed over 8.4 million people, including 3.2 million children, in the country to high health, nutrition, sanitation, and safety risks.

Deaths in Remal

According to unofficial reports, at least 13 people died in Patuakhali, Barishal, Bhola, Khulna, Satkhira, Laxmipur, Chattogram, and Cumilla districts from Sunday night till Monday afternoon due to the cyclonic storm.

Among the deceased, three died in Bhola, two each in Barishal and Patuakhali, and one each in Satkhira, Khulna, Laxmipur, Chattogram and Cumilla.
Addressing a press conference at the secretariat at 4:30pm on Monday, State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Mohibur Rahman said, “So far 37,58,096 people have been affected in 19 districts. Besides, 1,50,475 houses were destroyed and 10 people died in the cyclone.”

He said the cyclone has caused damage in Khulna, Satkhira, Bagerhat, Jhalakathi, Barishal, Patuakhali, Pirojpur, Barguna, Bhola, Feni, Cox’s Bazar, Chattogram, Noakhali, Lakshmipur, Chandpur, Narail, Gopalganj, Shariatpur and Jashore districts.

The state minister said instructions have been given to the relevant ministries to assess the damage caused by Cyclone Remal across the country.

“There has been a huge damage caused by Cyclone Remal, a terrible damage. Houses are broken. Fish farms, crops, and plants were destroyed. The amount of damage is much higher than before. The details will be known after receiving the full report of the damage,” he said.

The minister said the government will provide aid to the victims in the affected areas, after estimating the total list of damages. “We are working as per the prime minister’s directive to help the victims. Relief distribution activities will continue.”

He said 9,424 shelters were opened in coastal areas to keep the coastal people in shelter to protect them from the devastation of the cyclone. More than eight lakh people and 52,146 cows, buffaloes, goats and sheep have taken shelter in these shelters and local educational institutions.

The state minister for relief further said 1,471 medical teams have been formed to provide medical care to the affected people and services are being provided through 1,400 teams.

He said the government has started activities to provide assistance to the disaster affected people. Out of this, Tk6.85 crore has been allocated for the victims.

According to the reports from different districts, in Satkhira district, three upazilas – Shyamnagar, Kaliganj, and Assasuni – were heavily affected by the Remal.

A person named Shawkat Morol (65) of Shyamnagarupazila died while he was going to the cyclone centre. The cyclone destroyed 541 houses along the Shyamnagar coast of the district. Among those, 448 houses were partially damaged, while 93 were completely destroyed.

Over 7 lakh Satkhira residents were left without power since Sunday night as the cyclone snapped electricity poles and uprooted trees which broke transmission lines.

In Bhola, Remal damaged over 2,000 houses. Three people were killed in the district due to the storm on Monday morning.

They were – Moneja Khatun (54), Jahangir (50) and Maisha (4).

In Barishal, three people were killed when walls collapsed and tree branches fell due to Cyclone Remal. Over 2500 houses were heavily damaged there.
Huge damage to the croplands and fisheries were also reported in the district, and the extent of damage may increase.

In Bagerhat, the water level of various rivers increased by 2-5 feet due to the impact of Cyclone Remal. Tidal water broke the dams in different areas and flooded the lowlands.

Bagerhat Fisheries Officer SM Russell said around 30,000 fish enclosures in Bagerhat Sadar, Rampal, Mongla, Morrelganj, and Sharonkhola areas were submerged.

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of families have become waterlogged in the riverside and lower areas of Bagerhat Sadar, Sharankhola, Morelganj, Mongla and Rampal upazilas of the district. The families are suffering due to rising water in their houses. Thousands of families are stuck in water.

In Patuakhali, a man named Sharif Howlader, 28, of Anantapara in Kalapara died after he was swept away by a tidal surge on Sunday afternoon.
In Khulna, a man named Lal Chand Morol (36) of Batiaghata upazila was killed when a tree uprooted by the cyclonic storm fell on his house.

Besides, river water broke the dams in Koira, Paikgacha and Dakop upazilas and entered the locality due to the flood caused by Cyclone Remal.
At least 61 km of embankment in Khulna, Satkhira, and Bagerhat was damaged and saltwater entered the locality, chief engineer of Water Development confirmed.

Crop fields were damaged by heavy rains and tidal water. Several hundreds of shrimp enclosures were washed away, while many houses and shops were also damaged in the district.

In Chattogram, most parts of Chattogram city were flooded due to several hours of rainfall caused by Remal, disrupting the residents’ lives.

A man named Saiful Islam Hridoy (26) was killed by a collapsed wall of an under construction building in Bayazid Thana area in the port city during the storm.

Power supply disrupted

Around half of the country’s populations faced power disruptions because of the cyclone. About 2.70 crore subscribers of the Rural Electrification Board (REB) went without power. Out of this, 3.21 lakh connections were restored later.

Meanwhile, till 5pm on Monday, 4,53,081 connections of West Zone Power Distribution Company were out of power.

According to a notification, electricity connection was partially or completely cut off in areas under 65 out of 80 Palli Bidyut Samities of the REB.

The Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources took some measures including opening control rooms on Sunday and Monday to deal with the cyclone.

Cyclone Remal has inflicted significant damage on the power supply networks across Bangladesh worth estimating the cost at around Tk96 crore, according to a press release from the ministry.

Mobile connection, internet disruptions

Around 3 lakh Internet Service Provider (ISP) customers in coastal areas affected by the cyclone are without fixed internet service. At the same time, over 100 ISP operators’ networks were damaged due to cable damage caused by severe storms.  

Locals said the mobile network was also down in the cyclone-affected areas as people were facing trouble talking over cellphones.

The Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh (AMTOB) on Monday said around 15,000 mobile network towers were dysfunctional due to disruptions in the electricity supply.

Flight operation hampered

Flight operations resumed today at Chattogram’s Shah Amanat International Airport after 17 hours of suspension amid heavy rain caused by Cyclone Remal.

Flight operations resumed at 5 am on Monday, said Mohammad Ibrahim Khalil, the airport’s public relations officer.

The flight disruption was also reported in Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka as many flights could not maintain schedule.

River transport was also disrupted as ferry services on the Paturia-Daulatdia and Aricha-Kazirhat routes were closed since Sunday night due to the storm, Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation sources said.

All educational institutions in the coastal areas have already been closed due to Cyclone Remal. However, even though educational institutions are open in other parts of the country including Dhaka, class activities were disrupted due to stormy rain throughout the day.

Considering the suffering of students and parents, general holidays were declared in some institutions.

Shining BD